Late at night, while most of America is sleeping, you can often find me curled up on my couch, texting with strangers about the stress in their lives. 

People text Crisis Text Line when they are so sad and lonely they don’t want to keep going. They text because their anxiety is off the charts. They text because of personal breakups, or the breakup of One Direction. Seriously. As a crisis counselor, my goal is to help a texter move from a hot moment to a cool calm. And, the truth is that so often it begins with self-care. Self-care strengthens mental health. It builds confidence, lays a foundation for wellness, and relieves stress.

Self-care is far more than sheet masks and expensive massages. Now that wellness is a billion-dollar industry, many people feel that self-care is out of their reach. Here’s the thing: You don’t need a single dollar to find self-care that can improve your mental health. 

That’s why, in honor of Self-Care Day on July 24, Crisis Text Line created, a resource with dozens of free ideas for practicing self-care. Because we believe that self-care is for everyone — and that it can be different for everyone.

For me, self-care looks like a long walk through Fort Greene Park, giggling with my nieces and nephews, and even making connections with texters at 3 a.m. 

What self-care works for you? We’ve got some ideas to get you started. 

1. WeTime. Connect with others by spending time with people who you love and trust and can reduce stress and improve your mood. 

2. ZzzTime. Snoozing even a few extra minutes each day could jump-start your mental wellness. 

3. FlexTime. Getting your sweat on can do far more than just make you look and feel your best physically. Exercise releases all of those feel-good hormones, endorphins.

4. ZenTime. Meditation is great for both maintaining your mental wellness and regulating your emotions. 

5. ChowTime. Yes, you can eat your self-care. Getting more fruits and vegetables can kickstart your body and take care of your mind. 

6. TreeTime. Spending time surrounding yourself with greenery and catching some rays can help you prioritize your mental wellness. Something as simple as checking out the trees at a city bus stop can increase mental wellness. 

Self-care can also mean texting 741741 if you ever need help finding your cool and calm. We have a community of amazing crisis counselors ready to help you through anything you’re going through. 

Crisis Text Line is, and always has been, about using the tools at our fingertips to transform the way we live. Self-care is a tool to help everyone live better. Whether you spend it on a hike, with your pet, or curled up with a good book, taking time to care for yourself will go a long way towards improving your mental health. Find what you like and take the time for yourself — you’ll thank yourself later.